Chairman of Leicester City Football Club died in a helicopter crash on Saturday near the club’s stadium in Leicester, England, the club said Sunday.
Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, 60, was one of five people on board the aircraft when it burst into flames after crashing in a parking lot next to King Power Stadium, the club said. No one on board survived.
“It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium.”
The statement described the chairman as a “a man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led.”
A book of condolences will be opened at the King Power Stadium starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, October 30, the club said.
Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter was a familiar sight at the Leicester stadium, landing in the middle of the pitch to ferry its owner to and from home games.
The crash occurred about an hour after Leicester City’s match against West Ham on Saturday night. Witnesses said the helicopter had barely cleared the 25 meter (82 foot) high stadium walls before making a loud noise, crashing to the ground and igniting in a large fireball.
Distraught fans set up a makeshift memorial for the owner before official confirmation that he was on the flight.
As day broke Sunday a shirt adorned with the badges of Leicester City and Oud-Heverlee Leuven — the Belgian second-division team also owned by Srivaddhanaprabha — was propped up against the King Power Stadium, along with a framed picture of the Hindu deity Ganesh and a handful of flowers.
Srivaddhanaprabha, who founded the retail company King Power Duty Free, bought Leicester in August 2010 and became the club’s chairman less than six months later.
Under his ownership, Leicester secured promotion to the top-flight in 2014 and, against odds of 5,000-1, won the 2015/16 Premier League title.